B.C. Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Appeal court orders new trial for Surrey chiropractor who was convicted of fraud

Higher court found Surrey judge put burden on the accused to prove his innocence

A Surrey chiropractor will get a new trial after the B.C. Court of Appeal found the Surrey provincial court trial judge who convicted him of fraud in 2017 had put the burden of proof on the defence rather than the Crown to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Dr. Maninder Singh Badyal was convicted on a single count of fraud over $5,000 related to billings to ICBC for chiropractic services for 11 patients. The appeal court on May 8 ordered a new trial, following a hearing in Vancouver.

Justice Harvey Groberman found the judge’s “apparent reversal” of the burden of proof was a “reversible error” that warranted a new trial. Chief Justice Robert Bauman Justice Gail Dickson concurred.

Groberman found the Surrey judge’s “serious misapprehension” of the role of a witness who gave evidence “had the effect of placing a burden on the accused to prove his innocence rather than simply raise a reasonable doubt.”

The trial judge in Surrey provincial court found Badyal charged ICBC a lump sum for three or more chiropractic visits while providing treatment to each patient on only a single occasion. This was under the Lump Sum Program, where people injured in traffic crashes sign up for chiropractic treatment without being referred by a doctor or adjuster.

Under this program a chiropractor is required to provide patients with at least three treatments over at least two weeks and is paid directly by ICBC so patients don’t have to pay them then seek reimbursement. The court heard ICBC paid Badyal $800 for each patient he treated under the program.

“In addition, if the chiropractor provided a discharge report when treatment was complete, ICBC would pay an additional $100,” Groberman noted in his reasons for judgment. “If a chiropractor provided less than three treatments to a patient, ICBC would pay only $150 for the chiropractic services.”

It was the Crown’s position that between June 2014 and January 2015 Badyal charged ICBC for three or more visits under the Lump Sum Program in respect to 13 patients he saw only for an initial assessment.

READ ALSO: Surrey criminal’s dangerous offender designation set aside by appeal court

READ ALSO: Surrey judge finds COVID-19 a factor in granting four men bail in 106-kilos meth case

The 13 patients testified at the trial. “The judge found the evidence of two of them insufficiently reliable to form the basis for a conviction, and she relied only on the evidence of the remaining 11 patients,” Groberman noted.

The court heard each of the 11 had been injured in a crash and was referred to Badyal’s clinic by their doctors for physiotherapy or massage therapy. The patients testified they didn’t realize the form they signed included electing to enroll in the Lump Sum Program and all denied seeing Badyal for treatment except during their initial visit.

Badyal testified he met with and assessed each patient, explained the consent forms to them, claimed he treated each patient on at least three occasions and provided clinical notes supporting his testimony.

“He suggested that the patients were confused or had forgotten the therapy sessions that they had attended,” Groberman observed. “The judge was not persuaded that Dr. Badyal’s evidence was true, and also found that it did not raise a reasonable doubt in her mind as to his guilt. As she was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Dr. Badyal had committed fraud in his billings for the 11 patients, she convicted him.”

A new trial date has to be set.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Tom on Twitter

CourtSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

BREAKING: Cloverdale McDonald’s employee tests positive for COVID-19

McDonald’s Canada immediately shut down the restaurant

Southridge students raise $5,600 for hospital meal program

GoFundMe campaign funds two months of meals at Peace Arch Hospital

Surrey kids get cooking during free SuperChefs camps pushed online by pandemic

‘Enthusiastic’ launch of program, which sees ingredient pickup at one local school

Court awards woman $143K for two Whalley rear-ender crashes, one by a bus

In both cases, Brigitte Bergeron’s vehicle was hit from behind while stopped at an intersection

Surrey RCMP searching for missing woman last seen in Crescent Beach

Milcah Kasomali-Chirumbwana last seen at 4:35 p.m. July 5 in the 12300-block of Beecher Street

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes

75 per cent of Canadians would agree to take a novel coronavirus vaccine

Abbotsford school vice-principal accused of getting Instagram ‘confessions’ page shut down

@A.S.S.S.Confessions page claims school officials contacted families to find out person behind page

Recreational chinook openings leave First Nations frustrated on the Lower Fraser

Limited recreational openings for chinook on the Chehalis and Chilliwack rivers being questioned

Most Read